Remembering Hurricane Irma

Written by Steve Lewis

With the holiday season upon us perhaps there is no better time to reflect on the past year and be thankful for some of the challenges and accomplishments we took on and overcame with Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane raging with a Florida city in the background.

Coming Together in the Aftermath

As I travel through all of Florida and Georgia reminders are everywhere of the devastation and destruction following one of the largest geographical Hurricanes to hit Florida in many years. For so many of us it was a time to come together and help our neighbors, and in many cases, the competitor became our partner pooling resources and manpower to take on this violent storm. Countless times I witnessed destroyed buildings, vehicles damaged, properties ruined and in some cases, the homes and dwellings of the many employees representing the FPGA damaged and simply unlivable due to Hurricane Irma.

Preparing for the Storm

I watched as many boarded-up homes and businesses secured their propane plants and buildings from the pending wind and potential floods. There were idle tanks to be secured, vehicles to be garaged, and properties to be saved. We are very fortunate to have advanced warning systems that give notice of an approaching storm. In many cases, we have 10-days or more to prepare. However, having that much notice resulted in new challenges in the form of gasoline shortages, water shortages, food and essential shortages, and clogged interstates many days before the hurricane even hit Florida.

No Power = No Propane, or does it?

Krug compressor and the Ventur-Evac.

Hurricane Irma presented many challenges by changing direction many times before it finally came ashore in South Florida. As Hurricane Irma hit the Keys and then worked her way northward there were countless propane companies without power that lasted for extended periods of time. With no power, many companies could not load their trucks to deliver propane causing disruptions of service and customers going without propane, in many cases for weeks.

Even without power, some suppliers relied upon other methods that didn't requiring electricity to load their bobtails. These include the KRUG portable compressors as well as the Ventur-Evac, both capable of handling the job and allowed the supplier to continue servicing their customers in need.

What To Do For The Next Storm

It's important to take what was thrown at us from Hurricane Irma and learn from it. As we all learned very quickly you can never be prepared enough. Here are a few preparedness tips to take before the next storm.

  1. If you don’t have a garage, load the bobtails and park them in a row in a safe area to minimize damage. In fact, park all of your vehicles together.
  2. Secure tanks and the plant.
  3. Board up windows.
  4. Secure office equipment (computers, printers, etc.) that are in areas where they may be susceptible to water infiltration.
  5. Invest in a good generator so your office is operational during a power outage.
  6. Lastly check to see that you have and utilize either a compressor, Ventur-Evac or some other means to load your bobtails in the event of a power outage. Both options do not require electricity and can load trucks in a pinch.

Final Thought – A BIG Thanks

There were many heroes among us, as well as the thousands of volunteers and workers from as far as Wisconsin and Maine, restoring power and utilities to the hundreds of thousands of businesses and homes. To those heroes, we say thank you.

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Outside sales rep Steve Lewis.

Steve Lewis

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